Efforts to advance the University of Wisconsin’s learning and research community will culminate with the opening of a behavioral research space between the Wisconsin School of Business and the School of Human Ecology.
The Behavioral Research Insights Through Experiments Lab emerged from a conversation between the deans of the two schools involved, according to BRITE faculty director and business school associate professor Brian Mayhew.
The idea for the collaboration started with the previous SoHE dean, School of Business Dean François Ortalo-Magné said in an email to The Badger Herald. He said both schools realized they could deliver a great platform if they pooled their resources.
Though SoHE knew it wanted a space for something like the BRITE Lab, Mayhew said it did not have the money to start running the facility after it was built.
The lab will be shared between both schools, Mayhew said. He said SoHE will provide space and computers, and the business school will provide people to run and fund the facility.
“We would hope to build our research community,” Mayhew said, “where we can really share insight across the schools and across the university.”
The BRITE Lab, designed to support experimental research and instruction, will foster a collaborative environment between the faculty and students of SoHE and the business school, SoHE Dean Soyeon Shim said in an email to The Badger Herald.
As a main focus of the facility, collaborative research space allows researchers from different disciplines to use experimental approaches to answer critical questions, Ortalo-Magné said. More research of direct relevance to decision makers, including consumers, policy makers and workers, is an overall goal, he added.
On a base level, one objective of the facility will focus on supporting experimental research, according to Mayhew. He said this will involve research and student participation, but added that they hope for a lot more, including a “synergy” of research and ideas from both schools.
“The BRITE Lab wants to become a magnet for funded projects, and, under the leadership of its faculty director, it hopes to become financially self-sustaining from extramurally funded projects,” Shim said.
At some level, according to Mayhew, you can run experiments in a classroom similar to what will take place in the BRITE Lab. However, he added it is inherently harder to do it this way because of the lack of dedicated computer space.
From the business school’s perspective, Mayhew said there was a definite need to make campus smaller and have the School of Business be more integrated into campus. Another benefit, he added, is the increase of research productivity the facility will provide.
“We want to partner with campus more [and] take advantage of all the great scholars here on campus to work together and be better partners across the university,” Mayhew said.
The BRITE Lab, according to Ortalo-Magné, creates a new environment for faculty from across schools and disciplines. It will also allow faculty and graduate students to conduct behavioral research relevant to consumers and businesses with a focus on the complexities of decision making, he added.